July 19, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Distance education was the focus of negotiations today between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the union representing Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities’ faculties and coaches.
Among the most significant changes discussed: the value of face-to-face instruction, the definition of distance education, and the percentage of a course that must be delivered online to qualify it as distance education.
While the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties understands distance learning has its merits, its members believe classroom-based learning is optimal, APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said.
“Some of the language in the expired contract has indeed become outdated, and we are willing to work with the State System to modernize those definitions,” Mash said. “We believe firmly that face-to-face instruction benefits our students the most, even as we understand that distance education provides access to those who otherwise would not be able to obtain a degree.”
Today’s session was part 3 of the June 10 negotiations, at which the State System put on the table a 146-page document containing 249 changes. It was the System’s first multi-year proposal since negotiations began in late 2014. APSCUF’s proposal was seven pages.
This was the third consecutive meeting that consisted primarily of State System negotiators reading their proposed changes and responding to questions.
“After today’s session, we did find common ground on some minor issues, but there’s still no major progress,” Mash said. Thus, APSCUF’s emergency legislative assembly conference call will remain on the calendar for Aug. 25, he said. On that call, delegates from all 14 campuses in the State System will decide whether full APSCUF faculty members will take a strike-authorization vote on their campuses.
The faculty contract expired June 30, 2015.
The next negotiations session is slated for Aug. 2.
APSCUF represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.